Your dog is certainly your best friend, and you’re his caretaker meaning that you should want what’s best for him.
Since you’re probably paying attention to the things you eat, it’s perfectly normal to do the same for your best friend, right?
Now, we live in a world where we have an array of options, so it could be quite challenging to find the best dog food out there.
Some say they are the best; others say they are the most affordable or the healthiest, but what is the truth?
There are simple guidelines that you could follow to find the perfect dog food for your little furry friend.
What’s Good Dog Food?
The first thing that you need to know about their diet is that they do not require only meat.
Dogs are, unlike cats, omnivores, meaning that eat meat, grain, fruit, and vegetables.
Even though meat should be the main ingredient, meals that contain only grain and vegetables are not simply fillers as they are a resource of all the other vitamins, minerals and fibers your dog needs.
Because of this, the dog food that you choose should contain all of these ingredients, unless, of course, you’re feeding your dog in a vegetarian manner.
Consider All The Factors
The energy and nutrition needs of your dog depend greatly on factors such as growth, reproductive status, and the ones that are the most important – the age and the activity level, and that is why you should always consider them.
For example, a puppy will need more protein and calories in its food, and the same applies to the dogs that are pregnant or lactating.
Paying attention to these factors can help significantly in determining the best food your friend needs.
However, pay attention to the caloric needs of the dog and bear in mind that these calories should not be coming from one nutrient only, for example, protein or carbohydrate.
Check the List of Ingredients
Even though, as already mentioned, the food of your dog should consist of meat, grain, and vegetables, the first ingredient on the packaging should be meat.
This would mean that meat is the primary ingredient in the food and that grains and vegetables are just supplements that are, again, very important as well.
Even though whole meats sound more appealing to us than meat meals, the latter one contains more meat as whole meats contain a large percentage of water, meaning that the actual percentage of meat is lower than it appears.
This step is also very important to the dogs with a certain allergy or a special dietary need, so, even though we cannot read about the quality of the ingredients, we get to know what is in the food.
Dry vs Canned Food
Deciding between these two types of foods is just a matter of budget and choice.
Both can be very healthy (and can be unhealthy if you choose the wrong kind) and can cater to all the nutrition needs of your dog.
However, canned food is more expensive, but it contains about 75% water.
On the other hand, they tend to contain more proteins, but that varies from case to case.
Another advantage of dry dog food is that it’s more convenient and doesn’t need refrigeration.
If you leave canned food open for more than two hours, it can easily grow bacteria and become contaminated, while that is not the case with natural and dry dog food.
The best option, however, is to give both of these to your dog or combine them for a tastier experience.
Check the “Proximate Analysis” Label
Always check this label while purchasing dog food, and compare it to others to see which one would be better for your furry friend.
Most of the labels are user-friendly, meaning that the suggested amount of nutrients which you need to feed to your dog based on its weight is noted down.
Even though it could be difficult for the producer to tailor the needs to every single dog on the planet, you could use these as guidelines to find the best one for your dog.
Sometimes, however, you won’t find the calorie content on the packaging, and in that case, either call the producer or check the information online as you can easily find it on the web.
Buy the Freshest Package
Once you decide on the food that you want to purchase, make sure to check the best before date as you want the freshest food for your dog, especially if you chose dry food.
Since sellers want to sell the oldest bags first, they tend to put them in the front line, so make sure to check the last bag in line to see if it’s newer and get that one.
Moreover, bear in mind that dog food is not something that you should be saving a lot of money on, and that is why you’re always better with a smaller bag of food than buying a huge one at a special price.
Last but not least, check that the bag is intact and doesn’t have any holes.
Store It Properly
Storing the dog food properly is also extremely important as you don’t want it to go bad.
Store dry food in its original packaging, or in an airtight container such as plastic or a metal one, and keep it in a dry and cool place.
The best option would be a closet or a pantry.
As far as canned foods are concerned, store them in a dry and cool place.
Try not to have any opened canned food, but if that’s the case, make sure to cover them and keep them in the refrigerator.
Ask the Vet for Additional Information
Your veterinarian should always be there to help you, so if you have any further questions, feel free to contact them.
They should know best what food your dog should be eating, and can give you beneficial advice.
Furthermore, they will tell you if there are any foods or ingredients that your dog should not be eating, which is extremely important in the long run.
Make sure to do all the research you need to provide the best nutrition for your friend – the biggest mistake would be taking dog food for granted.
It’s neither complicated nor does it take too much of your time, and your dog will be very, very thankful.